Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is the second largest city of Vietnam with HCM(Ho Chi Minh) being the largest city. Base on tourist counts, HCM is more popular than Hanoi. So in case you were wonder why I chose Hanoi over HCM, here's why.
Vietnam is not one of the biggest countries in the world, but if you compare it to Singapore it's HUGE! But again, compare any country to Singapore, they will appear big.. if not huge.. Ok back to the point, Vietnam is not big but it's long with Hanoi at the north and HCM at the south. With that, Hanoi experiences four seasons while HCM is only wet and dry(same as Singapore). So one of the factors to choose Hanoi over HCM was the cooler weather during our travel period. Secondly, we felt Hanoi is more interesting in terms of the historical background(it's an older city, or maybe the oldest city in Vietnam). Lastly, I really want to go to Halong Bay!
We spent a total of 5days in Hanoi and I feel we still have a lot to cover.
Photography gear used - Insta360 One, Sony a6500 with Sigma 30mm f1.4, Huawei mate20.
We reached Hanoi late afternoon on day 1. So we explored the Old Quarter where we stayed. At Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc Square. I took this photo standing outside KFC, and yes if you were wondering, we had KFC as our first meal in Hanoi :D
Little one having her milk at Old Quarter while we were stocking up some snacks for the next few days..
Night view from our hotel balcony at Hanoi L'Heritage Centre Hotel. We chose this hotel because its still pretty new and it has a bathtub for my little one and a balcony(a pretty small one). We saw quite a number of nicely furnished Airbnb rooms but decided to go with this due to the location and breakfast (travelling with our little one, it's important we have a hearty breakfast to kick off the day, so it's easier to have it in the hotel).
Kicking off our day 2 taking the cyclo at Hanoi Old Quarter. Her favourite mode of transport. When she first saw the cyclo, she kept saying she wanted to take the tuk-tuk, which she did in Bangkok.
She probably too big or heavy for a carrier but this lazy bum always ask to be carried.
Hanoi is scattered with this type of tiny cafe. I had either coconut coffee(coffee with dried sweet coconut strips) or egg coffee every single day! Love them!
O Tree Coffee!
Famous train track photo location in Hanoi. We initially wanted to go to one of the cafes along the track for my daily coffee fix but the government already forbid tourists to go into the track area. It's possibly due to safety reasons as there are still passing trains and also there are residential houses along both sides of the track, so maybe it's also disrupting their daily lives. They had people stationed there in uniform like security guards in Singapore, and they only allow you to take a few steps into the track area from the main road just to take a photo.
Since we didn't get to the cafe along the train track, we googled for nearby good eateries and chanced upon this lunch buffet at a hotel which I forgot the name :/ Its probably a 8-10mins walk from the train station. Its pretty quiet and comfortable, our little one took her nap there on the cushion seats and snacks after that.
St. Joseph's Cathedral. Beautiful place. We went there because the streets surrounding the cathedral are lined with boutique and interesting shops.
Early day 3 to Halong Bay!
She's as excited as her daddy.. after a 2hours car journey from Hanoi from 8am.
Waiting to board.
Little one on explore mode..
Obviously enjoying her ride.
Time for a more adventurous ride.
Fully equipped with life vest and fisherman hat.
Its getting more and more like Skull Island(Kong: Skull Island) already...
Lounge area for guests onboard Jade Sails Cruise. There are countless cruise services to Halong Bay. We chose Jade Sails because it's relatively new(the cruise ship looks much nicer!) and online reviews were very good. We were the only family with a kid, and throughout the journey, we were very well taken care of. This lounge area was initially blasting with music but most people were on the deck to enjoy the cool breeze. So we brought our little one in for her daily nap, the staffs were kind enough to lower the music without us requesting and even dimmed the lights. We really appreciated it but felt bad if someone wanted to chill at the lounge. But ended up, the lounge area became so comfortable that at one time, 3-4ppl were napping there :D
I wondered where this boat vendor came from and how long he had to row his boat to get here.
Day 3 started with breakfast at Hanoi Coffee Station. We decided to skip our hotel breakfast to eat here as there are healthy meals that our little one can eat.
Chanced upon a playground while on the way to the fishing spot. She couldn't be happier!
Preparing our first bamboo fishing experience. I don't have much information about this place except that I book a guide to bring us there through withlocals.com. Its a place where locals frequent. Its peaceful and fun and we had a good lunch there!
The iconic Huc Bridge on Hoan Kiem Lake.
We went across the bridge to Temple of the Jade Mountain while waiting for our water puppet show. The show was good and our little one love it! Its a good experience.
Beer street. Its self explanatory what we did here beside having our dinner.
Shopping for her pyjamas at Hanoi Night Market.
Day 4 early coffee fix at Hidden Gem Coffee after our breakfast in the hotel.
Being glamorous at Vietnam Museum Of Ethnology. Wasn't planned to visit this place but a friend told me its fun for kids.
Daily nap at LOTTE Center after hours of outdoor fun.
She found an indoor playground in the mall. Pretty interesting.
Our last night at Old Quarter. Not exactly sure what's the event but it's pretty happening!
Time to leave on Day 5. She showed a thumb down while we were waiting for our ride to the airport back home.
Home sweet home.